Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Why we need Bike Lanes not Bike Paths

Calgary's proposed Cycling Strategy has me thinking about what I'd like to see. I'd really like to see Elbow Drive turned into a North South bike lane. Not all four lanes, just take one lane for bikes and use lane reversal on the center lane to keep 2 lanes for the rush hour direction. There only three lanes of traffic on Elbow drive now. Two Lanes with rush hour and one lane going the other way. If we had designated bike lanes then cars wouldn't have to share with bikes so it's more space for cars during rush hour.

Reasons for a bike path on Elbow Drive:
- there are a almost a dozen schools that are within a block or two of Elbow Drive
- it's parallel the south c train line, so if you break down you can limp to a train station and go from there
- it goes through a number of residential neighborhoods connecting to downtown. [Ok so I'd like to include 4th Street south of 10th Ave in this too]
- The north most section of Elbow Drive is all ready a 40 KM zone, so it's not targeted as a major traffic route.

Now I'm sure someone would point out that there are bike paths just east of Elbow Drive, you can see them on Google maps, why not take those?

With Elbow Drive as a bike path directions to downtown are: take Elbow Drive north then take a left on 4th Street (just after the safeway).

The directions to downtown from Canyon Meadows to Downtown on the bike paths as they are now? It's 34 separate steps. I would like someone from the city to lead me on that path from memory with only the sparse bike route signage we have now. That path involves switching between road and sidewalk multiple times and being in tight places with pedestrians. Not Good. It's also 17% longer than the Elbow Drive route. It's much harder to go 17% faster on bike than it is in a car.

That's why we need bike lanes, not just more bike paths.

- Peace

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